Home > Ask the Advocate > How to Hone Your Advocacy Skills, Reduce School Meeting Anxiety & Help Other Parents

The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:


2015 Training Programs

Feb 26 - Memphis, TN

Mar 6-7 - Bakersfield, CA

Mar 10 - Albuquerque, NM

Mar 18 - Little Rock, AR - private

Mar 20 - Little Rock, AR

Mar 24 - Providence, RI

Mar 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - private

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more


Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories

Law Library

IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints


Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
  Disability Groups
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

IEP Meetings: How to Sharpen Your Advocacy Skills
and Help Other Parents

by Pat Howey

Print this page

"I dread going to IEP meetings. I get a knot in my stomach for days ahead of time. When I provide information and observations about my child at meetings, the team ignores them."

"How can I be a better advocate for my child and not be basket case before these meetings?

The best way to become a good advocate for your child is to do what you would do if you wanted to catch the flu. Expose yourself to as many opportunities to advocate as possible.

Ask other parents if they would like to have a friendly face at their IEP team meeting. Assure them that you don't know enough to go with them as an advocate, but you will be there to support them and reassure them.

When you go to IEP meetings as a friend, you can be more detached and less involved emotionally. You can better observe the personalities and the games that are being played. You can see what some people do to push the parents' "buttons."

You will become more aware of meeting dynamics and what is going on because you do NOT have the same emotional attachment that you do when you go to your own child's IEP meetings.

You will find you can put this knowledge and information to good use when you go to your child's IEP meetings. You will be prepared for the games that are played and you will know and understand the personalities you are dealing with.

Finally, you are likely to find that advocating for other children is much easier than advocating for your child. You will be motivated to become a real advocate.

When you advocate for other children, you will continue to make progress on the advocacy learning curve. When you do attend your child's IEP meetings, you will be less emotional and more detached.

You will be surprised at how many parents would LOVE to have just one friendly face at their IEP meetings. You may discover that you LOVE learning how to advocate for other children.

Then, we all benefit.

Read more articles by Pat Howey in Ask the Advocate

Advocacy Strategies: Filing a Complaint with the State

Understanding the Playing Field: Power Struggles, Meetings, Follow Up Letters

What to Do When the School Ignores Your Requests

Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPat Howey has a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College where she graduated with honors. She is an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and other organizations. In 2004, the Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana honored Pat with its Outstanding Service Award for her commitment and compassion towards students with disabilities.

Pat Howey writes articles and answers questions in Ask the Advocate.

As a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, Pat Howey provides training for parents, educators, and others who want to ensure that children receive quality special education services.
Learn more about Pat.

Wrightslaw programs are designed to meet the needs of parents, educators, health care providers, advocates, and attorneys who represent children with disabilities.

"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time."

Contact Information
Pat Howey
Special Education Consulting
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
Website: patriciahowey.com
Email: specialedconsulting@gmail.com

To Top

Created: 10/10/05
Revised: 03/22/12

What's New?

Free Shipping
Orders Over $35

E-Book Available!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book
To Order

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook


Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order

About the Book

To Order

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order

To Order

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training

Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95